Paris is a city for walking … and walking … and … At least it is so for Arnie and me. With a strike on in Paris that promises to shut down all transportation, it is a good thing. It will not affect us!
Our destination is an art exhibit of Nick Brandt’s work at A Gallerie http://a-galerie.fr/en/?page=14-0/paris-exhibition-photo-gallery across the river in the 16th (arrondissement, or section of Paris).
But we are in no hurry and walk along the river, taking in the sights. I am struck by the light and repeating patterns under one of the bridges.
A young woman enjoys the sun while listening to music and checking her messages.
It turns out that by the time we get to the gallery, it is closed for lunch, so we do the same. There is a café just down the street, and we enjoy a relaxing couple of hours there, sipping wine, eating our soups and salads, and joking with our young waiter who is saving up to travel to the US. He thinks Arnie looks like George Lucas, and we tell him he looks like a young Barack Obama. We joke that Arnie is here for casting, and our young friend looks perfect for the part.
It is time to head back to the gallery, and we are struck by the stunning prints, yet, because of what they represent, they are also very disturbing. Those who know Nick Brandt’s work know that he has been photographing the animals in Africa for decades, that he sells his prints for large sums, and a good portion of that money goes to hiring his own rangers to combat the terrible poaching that has seen every bull elephant he has ever photographed dead. It is a travesty, and Brandt is doing everything he can to combat it.
The project, Inherit the Dust, has huge prints of Brandt’s set in a devastated area where that particular animal used to roam. Horizons are lined up, but a lion may be lying on a huge pile of trash, some elephants may be under a large viaduct, a giraffe is set in a landscape of backhoes with long necks, the stripes of a zebra are echoed in the back of a dump truck and the train coming toward the viewer, other animals are set in an extensive quarry. Again, both stunning and disturbing, and certainly a testament to what man can do to our environment and precious resources.
On the way back, we stop off at The Louvre and enjoy the cool breeze by the reflecting pools around the I.M. Pei pyramids. Hawkers sell their cheap, tinny Eiffel Towers and others sell bottles of water. And we must not forget those obnoxious selfie sticks that they try to sell us, even though to us, it is clear that those things are not appropriate for our cameras.
As we walk into the Louvre courtyard, we are struck by a round, metal sculpture building. We cannot figure out what it is, but the reflections of the Louvre remind me of Gaudi’s work.
The plaque on the ground says the work is by Eva Jospin and is titled “Panorama.” We learn from a French lady that it contains a panorama and that it is worth investigating. And so we do. The outside of the piece is steel, and the inside three-dimensional woods sculpted out of cardboard and glue. Fascinating.
We cross back over Pont des Arts and see the amazing sculptures during the day. One steel damsel sports long horns and glitters in the sun.
On the Rue de Seine are a lot of galleries, and we pop into a few along the way.
We end up at a little restaurant just around the corner from our flat that is clearly a local hang-out. The staff is great, and we enjoy the repartee. We see a worker back in the kitchen area and learn that that bank of little drawers to the left of the window houses napkins and napkin rings from long-time customers. There are 50 in all, the oldest one belonging to an 87-year-old gentleman who comes every Sunday for dinner and has had his little drawer since 1968.
Another man, clearly a regular, leans up against the bar in a relaxed manner in the other room.
Our waitress gets ready to bring us a bottle of Chateau Margaux Boston. The staff is all amused that my name is Margo and that I was born in Boston.
For our part, we are amused that she has taken down our order on the paper tablecloth cover, and when we are done, she tears it off and goes into the other room to total everything up.
Because we have all had so much fun with the staff, the owner pours us little shots of something that shall remain nameless.
We have walked over seven miles today and what seems like a gazillion steps, so we are happy to return to our flat. Everyone sleeps quickly.
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